Farmers of Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai divided over Cauvery turn system

The turn system is a process where a bulk portion of water is directed into one river for a few days before being redirected into another.

Published: 28th June 2023 07:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2023 07:40 AM   |  A+A-

Cauvery waters gushing from Grand Anaicut Dam | MK ASHOK KUMAR

Express News Service

NAGAPATTINAM:  The turn system followed at Grand Anicut (Kallanai) has divided farmers in Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai. While farmers in Nagapattinam claim they cannot use the groundwater in their region since it is predominantly saline, their counterparts in Mayiladuthurai claim they need the water for kuruvai cultivation.

The turn system is a process where a bulk portion of water is directed into one river for a few days before being redirected into another. The system is followed to manage situations where the demand is higher in one division.

According to the Water Resources Department (WRD), the outflow at Mettur dam is around 13,000 cusecs while the inflow is currently 385 cusecs. Mettur dam storage level is currently at 93 feet, and the waters proceed through Upper Anicut and the Grand Anicut.

A bulk of the water that reaches the Grand Anicut is currently being diverted towards River Vennar. "Farmers in Nagapattinam deserve river irrigation more as around 95% do not have fresh groundwater, while Mayiladuthurai farmers can sustain using groundwater irrigation as they have fresh groundwater sources. So, the turn system is needed," said 'Cauvery' V Dhanabalan, a representative from the Thamizha Kaviri Vivasaayigal Paaathukaapu Sangam.

The Kallanai splits the Cauvery into three - Cauvery, Vennar and the Grand Anaicut Canal. The Cauvery irrigates paddy fields in Mayiladuthurai, while the Vennar irrigates a majority of cultivation in Nagapattinam. >From the Grand Anicut, water is released into the Vennar at an outflow of 5,005 cusecs, Cauvery at 801 cusecs and Grand Anicut Canal at 1011 cusecs.

From the Upper Anicut or Mukkombu Melanai, water is released into the Kollidam at 508 cusecs. Farmers in Mayiladuthurai claim the turn was affecting them adversely. "It is not true that all of us can manage using groundwater. At least 40% of us are dependent on river irrigation.

Many of those who use groundwater used to provide for those who don't. We also depend on the Cauvery to recharge our groundwater resources. Hence, we don't want the turn system," said G Gopiganesan, farmer-representative from Kaviri Delta Paasanatharar Munnetra Sangam. When contacted, a WRD official said, "Nagapattinam is given priority since they predominantly depend on river irrigation."

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